A reference guide to Hungarian grammar, designed with English-speakers in mind

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Repeated actions with -gat/get


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This section looks at how we can turn a verb we do as a one-off into something that we do regularly.

Consider the difference between speak and chat. The former gives no indication about how often we perform the verb "speak", but the latter implies that we perfom the underlying verb regularly.

In Hungarian we express this with the endings -gat/get, sometimes with the link vowel. We change the meaning of the verb to "do something repeatedly, keeps on doing something."

Sometimes when we change the meaning of the word we can substitute another English word. The best example of that is beszélget (to) chat. Let's look at its formation.

  • beszél (to) speak
  • beszél + get (vowel harmoney gives us get and not gat.)
  • beszélget (to) speak repeatedly.... chat

This new verb, beszélget, then takes endings as normal. It can be conjugated like any other verb, where appropriate:

  • Ágival beszélgetek I am chatting with Ági
  • minden nap beszélgetünk we chat every day
  • kedden beszélgettünk we chatted on Tuesday (past tense)

Here are some other examples. I have listed the literal and the general translations.

  • lát see
  • meglátogat see repeatedly visit. The -o- is due to the long vowel before the last consonant in the stem.

  • ver beat
  • vereget beat repeatedly pat The -e- is a link vowel.

  • jaj oh! dear! (to complain)
  • jajgat complain repeatedly grumble

I usually; I used to...

See also... expressing that one usually or used to do something in Hungarian.


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